Archive for November, 2012

Gowings Bar and Grill, Sydney

I heard about this restaurant through a University friend, C. The Gowings heritage building has been transformed into Sydney’s newest boutique hotel – I have always wondered what they were going to do with this place! QT Sydney has opened and it is not your average hotel – the place is quite hip, funky and has that ‘cabaret’ feel to it, even the ‘bouncers’ downstairs are dressed in cabaret outfits.

Robert Marchetti (ex-North Bondi Italian Food and Neild Avenue) is behind this find establishment and offering diners ‘the freshest produce from Australian’s best artisan providores, prepared with cooking techniques featuring wood fired rotisseries and ovens’.

I was catching up with a couple of friends, and suggested this place. The menu VAST – couldn’t decide what I wanted to eat, duck, pork or beef! We started with warm fresh bread with pepe saya butter – yum!


We went straight to mains. I was craving beef and opt for the rib eye 100% black angus, darling downs ($48) – it was cooked to perfection, medium rare, the beef was incredibly tender and succulent, it was exactly what I wanted and needed.


About 1/3 of the table ordered the ½ crisp spiced duck served with Paris mash potatoes, steamed warrigal greens and salt bush ($44) – oh my, tender duck, crispy spicy skin and the mash incredibly creamy and delicious!


The hot spanner crab cakes with salad of hearts of palms, aioli and hot sauce ($19) were a hit!


The hand-picked spanner crab salad with avocado mousse, pickled asparagus, chervil, baby coz and black truffle dill mayonnaise ($28) was light and delicious – you can never go wrong with crab and avocado!


The steamed kinkawooka mussels with shallots, garlic, crème fraiche and sea parsley in a reisling sauce and shoe string fries ($38) were plump and moreish!


We all enjoyed the iceberg, red peppers, Ortiz anchovy, seeded mustard dressing ($10).


The fried onion rings ($7) weren’t too bad.

GB_onion rings

‘The Mother’ and I shared the Gowings classic profiteroles – filled with crème patisserie and vanilla ice cream drowned in Valrhona dark chocolate sauce ($17) – oh my! 3 decent size profiteroles, they were sinful but absolutely fantastic and the chocolate sauce was a wonderful complement.


Others had the hot German doughnuts dusted in Cinnamon and nutmeg sugar ($12). Although it was relatively huge, I had high expectations for these doughnuts and it did not live up to it. It was a little dry and wasn’t even fluffy! The profiteroles were definitely a better choice.


Service tentative, food was pretty good, it’s definitely a ‘fun’ place to go for dinner with friends. I definitely enjoyed my steak and those profiteroles were excellent!

Would like to come and try their lunch – we were curious about the 11 seeded sandwich – pastrami, corned beef, brisket, asiago cheese, sauerkraut, seeded mustard mayonnaise, house made pickle – WHAT A MOUTHFUL! I’m sure this would be fantastic! Till next time!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Gowings bar and grill

49 Market Street

Sydney 2000

Ph: +61 2 8262 0062

Gowings Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Categories: European, Steak, Sydney Tags: , ,

Cowbell 808, Surry Hills, Sydney

November 28, 2012 1 comment

My mission on the ONE weekend I had in Sydney was to hit up new cafes and enjoy the scene. Cowbell 808 was on that list. Cowbell 808 is located in the residential side of Bourke Street – you can’t miss it, the place was pumping! There were many diners sitting outside sipping their coffees and watching the world go by and people queuing to dine inside.

Cowbell 808 serves breakfast all day which I love! I’m trying to cut down my intake of eggs, so thought I would have something different – like fried chicken! Besan Fried Chicken with cauliflower slaw, harissa, sunflower seed ($16). The chicken was tender but the chicken was not crispy enough for my liking – it was a little soggy actually – and 3 pieces of small chicken? I did enjoy the cauliflower slaw though. I still prefer the chicken wings at Milk Bar by Café ish!

‘The Mother’ wasn’t overly hungry so opt for the carrot, pear and cinnamon loaf ($4.50). It was moist and slathered with butter was actually quite tasty.

G had the fat stacked ricotta hotcakes ($14) – two fat stacked ricotta hotcakes, mascarpone, bacon ice-cream and espresso syrup – OH MY! What a large serving. I have heard wonderful things about the hotcakes, however, I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan. Neither was G. the hotcakes were too thick, I prefer them slightly thin, and the espresso syrup we didn’t enjoy. The bacon ice-cream was interesting though, I have to say, this was not for me!

I was a little disappointed with my fried chicken – I expected more, shame, as I was craving fried chicken. Would I go back? Maybe to try their eggs and baki cured ocean trout, but the fried chicken and ricotta hotcakes was definitely not for me. I still prefer Bills hotcakes even though the price is higher, it is still the best hotcakes in Sydney!

Shame, service was uber duber friendly! The food did take a while to come out though but the people service was fantastic! Thanks for looking after us!

GA’s ratings: 6 / 10

616 Bourke Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 9698 5044

Cowbell 808 on Urbanspoon

Mr Wong, Sydney

November 27, 2012 1 comment

Mr Wong opened the week after we left for Hong Kong so I was a little sad that I didn’t get to try it as some of you may know I am a huge fan of Dan Hong’s cooking, especially Ms Gs and his burger which I first tasted at Lotus and now at the Fish Shop. So on my trip back to Sydney my dear friend M suggested that we go to Mr Wong for dinner on Sunday evening as you can’t make reservations for less than 8 diners.

Mr Wong can be found on Bridge Lane where the old Tank night club used to be. My how the place looks different – two levels, it reminded me a little of a 1930’s Shanghai tea house and I absolutely love the vibe and the feel of it.

Coming on a Sunday at 6.30pm, we had no problems in getting a table for 3. The menu extensive and for the first time in a long time I let ‘The Mother’ order – which is a good and a bad thing. I should probably have looked at the menu closely but he did order quite well but I definitely would have liked to try the sweet and sour pork hock!

We started with the Steamed Dim Sum Platter (8 pieces) – Scallop shumai, Jade seafood dumpling, Har Gau, Chinese mushroom dumpling ($32) – actually there were no har gau but xiao long bau which was delicious!

I absolutely loved the scallop shumai – 3 juicy and plump neatly packaged in a delicate pastry skin. The vegetarian dumpling was quite tasty too.

The roast duck (half – $34) was a favourite amongst the diners. Crispy skin and juicy, tender meat.

We all love pork so ordered the Roasted five spice pork belly ($25) – I love the crispy crackle and tender meat. Could have eaten a whole plate on my own!

Last but not least Hotpot of beef and tendon, enoki mushrooms, star anise and Thai basil ($32). You can’t see the large tender chunks of beef and delicious tendon as they were all underneath the enoki mushrooms – yum!

Desserts – fried ice cream has been a childhood favourite of mine. I was a little disappointed that when ‘The Mother’ ordered the fried ice cream, the waiter didn’t ask if we wanted vanilla or chocolate! I would definitely have ordered chocolate!

The batter was surprisingly thin and served with thick butterscotch sauce. It was good however, I think I was expecting something more – not sure what but perhaps pop candy?

Service was ok, a tad slow at times. Food was good – your typical Chinese food but I was expecting something with a twist – like Ms Gs. Glad to have a Chinese restaurant in the Wynyard area, pity I don’t work near there – it could be my regular yum cha place!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Mr Wong

3 Bridge Lane

Sydney 2000

Ph: +61 2 9240 3000

Mr Wong on Urbanspoon

Kepos Street Kitchen, Waterloo, Sydney

Oh my how I have missed the café scene in Sydney. Rocking up to a café, having breakfast with your friends, and having a very good meal and coffee! You don’t get that at all in Hong Kong – unless I have been going to the wrong places then please let me know!

I was catching up with one of my dearest friends, and we both have read about Kepos Street Kitchen, which is located on Kepos Street (doh!) where Strangers by Candy used to be. The chef behind Kepos Street Kitchen is Michael Rantisi ex Bathers’ Pavilion. Kepos Street Kitchen is opened for breakfast and lunch and the menu has a Middle Eastern twist to it. I had perused the menu quite extensively before going, and knew exactly what I wanted.

It was a bright and gorgeous day, I love the brightness of the café inside, it was tiny though, and I think you would struggle to get a table for more than 4. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait too long and got a table in less than 10 mins!

I couldn’t resist the mocktail – pomegranate mojito, I love the redness of the drink, it was refreshing and perfect for the gorgeous day.

M had the soy latte which she enjoyed.

I couldn’t go past the zucchini fritters with dill, smoked salmon and poached egg ($18). The fritters were a little salty for my liking but it was still quite delicious – moist and soft, and the poached egg oozed with yolk – how I missed a simple poached egg!

M couldn’t go past the ajeah – open herb omelette, kipfler potatoes, chorizo, sourdough ($16). This was simple but yet delicious.

Service was good considering how busy it was that day and food delicious. I saw someone order the dad’s favourite breaky – falafel, hummus, balneh, dukkah, hardboiled egg, tomato salad and schiacciata bread – it looked FANTASTIC! Will have to order that next time I am back!

Great café, I sure have missed the café scene!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Kepos Street Kitchen

96 Kepos Street

Waterloo 2017

Ph: +61 2 9319 3919

Kepos Street Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Movida Sydney, Surry Hills

An impromptu work trip led me back to Sydney, I wasn’t really excited as first as I had only left 3 – 4 months ago but then I thought about catching up with friends and eating at some great restaurants including Movida and suddenly became excited! I admit, I love being in Hong Kong but I have missed my friends (you know who you are!) and I have missed the café scene as it is pretty much non-existent in Hong Kong! As always, I had a list of places to go, and although I have been to Movida and Movida Aqui in Melbourne, I was keen to try the Movida in Sydney! Menu was the pretty much the same, ‘The Mother’ and I tried not to order anything that we had before and I don’t think we did!

Movida Sydney is located on Holt Street, where Cotton Duck used to be – I dined there once, it was good but nothing special I thought and even though I was sad to see it close, I am glad that Movida has taken the place over! Thankfully they take bookings, so we made reservations for lunch, but it wasn’t too busy which was good.

We started with some sour dough bread – fresh and delicious – god how I have missed GOOD fresh bread!

We started with Sardinilla – house cured WA baby sardines, set in a Gazpacho jelly and served with a heirloom tomato salad ($16.50) which was on the daily menu special. ‘The Mother’ LOVES sardines so this was a must get. The sardines were fresh and not slimy and the heirloom tomatoes I LOVED! It was refreshing light and deliciously tasty!

‘The Mother’ wanted the grilled chorizo and pardon sandwich ($7 each) – he didn’t offer any to me but said it was ‘excellent’.

I couldn’t go past the quail terrine ($7 each) which was served with mash potatoes.

We both couldn’t go past Pancetta ($25) – oven roasted pork belly with quince ali oli and spiced carrot salad. OMG was my first reaction; it was definitely a generous serving. The pork meat was so tender that I didn’t even need a knife to cut through it (I was feeding Dragon and only had one hand!) The pork crackle – OMG! Crispy, thin and absolutely awesome – I would have loved more crackle!

The zucchini flowers with calamari were not what I expected. I guess in my mind, I had thought it was zucchini flowers STUFFED with calamari! Nevertheless, it was still good, and the calamari was incredibly tender.

Last but not least – I was getting full by this stage – patatas bravas con mojo ($16) – smoked potato bravas with faux bacon dust, served with Mojo pico. The potatoes were soft with a crispy layer and I loved the mojo pico.

Unfortunately we didn’t get any dessert, I was craving the lamington panna cotta from Flour and Stone and no doubt we went and I bought the last four lamingtons! Cravings satisfied and I still believe that it is the BEST lamington in Sydney!

Back to Movida – service was fantastic and food was as good as Melbourne.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Movida Sydney

50 Holt Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 2 8964 7642

MoVida Sydney on Urbanspoon

Sunday Roast at St Betty, Central, Hong Kong

I had a pretty good meal at St Betty with ‘the mother’ – everything we ordered was definitely delicious. I didn’t realise that I was going to go back a week later to try their Sunday roast with a couple of hungry people who loves food! The Sunday roast: Josper roasted grass-fed Australian Angus Sirloin (served medium rare) which is served with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, confit of Chinese cabbage and Japanese bacon, crushed roasted root vegetables, horseradish cream and gravy. For the life of me I can’t remember how much this was per person as we ordered other things that day.

Mochachocolata’s son could not eat the beef so she ordered him the sweetcorn fritters with ricotta, corn salsa and Morteau sausage (HKD148). This looked good and I am a sucker for corn fritters! The corn fritters were crunchy and the corn deliciously sweet. OB demolished this – so I can safely assume he enjoyed it.

We had thought that the Sunday roast was a small serving – boy were we wrong(!) and ordered ox heart with pesto, dried black olives, 8 year old balsamic vinegar (HKD138). When it arrived we all wondered where the ox heart was! I was expecting big chunks of ox heart, unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Instead it was shaved and shredded into tiny pieces. It was nice but nothing special I thought!

The moment of truth and what we came here for! The Sunday roast! The beef was incredibly tender and the Yorkshire pudding fluffy and light! I loved the horse radish cream.

The roast potatoes were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

The crushed roasted root vegetables I loved!!! Couldn’t stop eating it.

Didn’t take a photo of the confit of Chinese cabbage and Japanese bacon but it was also delish!

Thought that was the end of the meal… alas there were more! Desserts – my favourite – RHUBARB CRUMBLE!!!!

Oh my I was already reaching bursting point and food coma but couldn’t help but eat spoonful of it – definitely hit food coma!

The beef was definitely tender and delicious – I would happily go again next time I am craving beef! Oh god – beef! Yum!

GA’s ratings 7.5 / 10

St Betty 

Shop 2075, Podium Level Two

IFC mall, Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2979 2100

Ming Yuen Restaurant, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Mongkok is not somewhere I go very often, in fact I hardly ever go to the other island, not because I don’t like it or I don’t want too – I guess everything is on the Hong Kong island that I don’t really ‘need’ to go to Kowloon. My Mum wanted to have a look at the ladies market as it has been a while since we last went. The ladies market hasn’t changed, it was still as busy as ever and you can buy anything and everything there! I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, it was just one of those days that I wanted to accompany my Mum.

I wasn’t prepared where to go – didn’t do much research, thought maybe they wanted to do dim sum but think they are a little over it. Can you believe that I have only done dim sum once in the 4 months I have been here? Crazy right? Thought I would have gone more.

As we were looking for places to eat – Japanese, Korean, Western – none that really tickled our fancy, we stumbled across Ming Yuen, which can be located on Soy Street in Mongkok. It was the beef brisket display that attracted my Dad as he has been craving beef brisket! Parents couldn’t resist the beef brisket with vermicelli noodles – tender beef brisket, soup was light and not too oily and noodles were soft just the way they liked it.

I wasn’t overly hungry, so we thought we would share a plate of just beef brisket and oh my – what a large serving! It was incredibly tender and delicious. Is it as good as Sister Wah and Ngau Kee? No, but the serving was definitely more generous.

We also got a serve of offal, liver and what not – I know this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we certainly enjoy it and couldn’t get enough of it!

Service minimal, the restaurant as busy, even at 2pm! Food came relatively quickly and so was the turnover, so don’t be put off by the long lines. Great find, price was reasonable, I can’t remember how much on top of my head, but noodle soup was around HKD40, the beef brisket on its own was slightly pricier – HKD70ish.

Deliciously full, we walked some more and I bought myself a new pair of runners and some dress for work! A fruitful day of shopping and eating (we ate a hell lot of stinky tofu which was fantastic!)

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Ming Yuen Restaurant Ming Court Noodle Restaurant

G / F, 50 Soy Strett

Mongkok, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2770 0281